100 episodes

Ask a Death Doula with experienced hospice and oncology nurse, Suzanne B. O’Brien RN is a platform to empower, heal and inspire people through brining back the sacred awareness of death and all that it teaches us about life.This podcast is to help people accept death as a natural part of life and provide a safe space to learn about the subject openly. This education is for family caregivers wanting to learn how to care for those at the end of life and is packed with invaluable information for professional Death Doulas.

Death is a natural part of life, and understanding it can help us to live our lives more fully. By facing the reality of death, we can gain a better understanding of our own existence and find meaning in life. When we come to terms with death, we can turn our fear into a source of strength and courage.

Ultimately, learning about death can help us to live more meaningful lives by giving us perspective on what really matters in life. By coming to terms with mortality, we gain insight into how precious each moment is and how important it is to make the most out of every day.

Suzanne B. O’Brien RN is a former hospice and oncology nurse and the founder of International Doulagivers Institute. She is a founding member of The National Hospice and Palliative Care organization NHPCO’s End of Life Doula Council and a founding member and former Vice President of NEDA National End of Life Doula Alliance. Suzanne was awarded “Worldwide Leader in Healthcare” by the International Nurses Association in 2015 for creating Doulagivers Institute. Suzanne was named Humanitarian Ambassador for Oprah Magazine in 2019 for her work to bring peace and comfort to those facing the end of life around the world.

Ask a Death Doula Suzanne B. O’Brien RN

    • Education
    • 4.6 • 62 Ratings

Ask a Death Doula with experienced hospice and oncology nurse, Suzanne B. O’Brien RN is a platform to empower, heal and inspire people through brining back the sacred awareness of death and all that it teaches us about life.This podcast is to help people accept death as a natural part of life and provide a safe space to learn about the subject openly. This education is for family caregivers wanting to learn how to care for those at the end of life and is packed with invaluable information for professional Death Doulas.

Death is a natural part of life, and understanding it can help us to live our lives more fully. By facing the reality of death, we can gain a better understanding of our own existence and find meaning in life. When we come to terms with death, we can turn our fear into a source of strength and courage.

Ultimately, learning about death can help us to live more meaningful lives by giving us perspective on what really matters in life. By coming to terms with mortality, we gain insight into how precious each moment is and how important it is to make the most out of every day.

Suzanne B. O’Brien RN is a former hospice and oncology nurse and the founder of International Doulagivers Institute. She is a founding member of The National Hospice and Palliative Care organization NHPCO’s End of Life Doula Council and a founding member and former Vice President of NEDA National End of Life Doula Alliance. Suzanne was awarded “Worldwide Leader in Healthcare” by the International Nurses Association in 2015 for creating Doulagivers Institute. Suzanne was named Humanitarian Ambassador for Oprah Magazine in 2019 for her work to bring peace and comfort to those facing the end of life around the world.

    Death Doula Global Summit Speaker Spotlight: Ken Ross President of the Elisabeth Kubler Ross Foundation.

    Death Doula Global Summit Speaker Spotlight: Ken Ross President of the Elisabeth Kubler Ross Foundation.

    In the heartfelt episode ”Honoring Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: A Legacy of Compassion and End-of-Life Care,” Ken Ross, son of Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, pays tribute to his mother’s transformative work in end-of-life care. As founder and president of the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, Ken shares insights into his unique upbringing and his mother’s dual life as a simple Swiss country woman and a pioneering global advocate.

    The episode highlights Dr. Kubler-Ross’s advocacy for holistic patient care—addressing physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental needs—and her support for AIDS patients during a time of fear and stigma. Despite backlash, her commitment laid the groundwork for modern palliative care.

    Ken continues his mother’s mission through global education, expanding foundation chapters in 12 countries, and digitizing her archives. The episode draws parallels between the AIDS crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing adversity as a catalyst for compassion and evolution.

    Listeners are encouraged to live authentically, face their fears, and avoid end-of-life regrets, honoring Dr. Kubler-Ross’s legacy. The episode reminds us of the importance of embracing challenges, learning from mistakes, and maintaining compassion.

    • 39 min
    Can Learning The Truth About End of Life Help Heal Grief

    Can Learning The Truth About End of Life Help Heal Grief

    In this emotionally enriching episode of ”Ask a Death Doula,” titled ”Understanding Death: Finding Peace and Healing in Grief,” listeners are invited to explore transformative insights into grief and end-of-life experiences. Suzanne O’Brien shares profound stories from hospice nurses and end-of-life care professionals, shedding light on comforting phenomena such as seeing deceased loved ones and experiencing a surge of energy, which help demystify death and provide a sense of peace.


    The episode pays tribute to Stacey White, a beloved doula giver whose resilience and positive spirit left a lasting impact. Through Stacey’s story, listeners are encouraged to view grief as a natural response to any significant loss, not just death. O’Brien compares grief to the ocean’s ever-changing tides, illustrating its unpredictable yet soothing nature, and emphasizes the importance of allowing emotions to flow naturally.


    Additionally, the episode delves into the deep connection between grief and love, urging gratitude for the love shared with those who have passed. Practical advice is offered on reframing death as a celebratory transition and recognizing the continuity of energy. Listeners are also informed about a free webinar that supports caregivers and those processing loss.


    The episode concludes with a heartfelt message of global community and a call to continue Stacey White’s legacy of positivity and mentorship. This powerful tribute and educational discussion inspire hope and healing, encouraging listeners to share this message with their loved ones.

    • 31 min
    Death Doula Global Summit: Barbara Karnes

    Death Doula Global Summit: Barbara Karnes

    In this episode, we explore the inspiring journey of Barbara Karnes, a pioneer in American hospice care. Initially disillusioned with traditional nursing, Barbara found her calling in hospice care through the works of Cicely Saunders and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. She started by volunteering at Kansas’ first hospice during the AIDS epidemic, focusing on meaningful end-of-life experiences.

    Barbara highlights the importance of human connection and trust in hospice care, noting that emotional, mental, and spiritual healing can come from simple acts like sharing coffee with caregivers. She critiques the current hospice system for prioritizing physical care over emotional support and discusses the negative effects of frequent nurse rotations. Education is emphasized as a key to bridging these gaps.

    The episode also looks at the role of end-of-life doulas, who aim to create meaningful experiences for the dying. Barbara advocates for a holistic, personalized approach to dying and stresses the need for compassionate support. A story about Oprah Winfrey using Barbara’s hospice book during her mother’s final days underscores the universal need for compassionate end-of-life care.

    Join us to celebrate the invaluable work of death doulas and the sacred moments they create during life’s most pivotal times.

    • 53 min
    The Benefits of Forest Bathing

    The Benefits of Forest Bathing

    In this enriching episode of ”Ask a Death Doula,” Suzanne O’Brien delves into the ancient practice of forest bathing and its transformative effects on mental and physical health. Suzanne shares her personal healing journey through regular walks in Central Park, highlighting the profound benefits of immersing oneself in nature. From reducing cortisol levels and blood pressure to boosting immune function and overall happiness, forest bathing emerges as a simple, cost-free way to enhance quality of life.

    Listeners are invited to embrace a holistic approach to health through a 30-day forest bathing challenge. The episode explores how nature therapy can mitigate stress, unlock creativity, and renew spiritual well-being. As doctors begin to prescribe nature therapy, Suzanne emphasizes its significant benefits for both mind and body. Join her on this journey to foster growth, healing, and joy, and experience the transformative power of nature firsthand.

    • 25 min
    There is NO Need to Fear Death: A Discussion with Hospice Nurse Julie!

    There is NO Need to Fear Death: A Discussion with Hospice Nurse Julie!

    In this podcast episode, hospice nurse Julie McFadden discusses her transition from working in the ICU to hospice care and her efforts to demystify death through education. Her upcoming book ”Nothing to Fear” reflects her mission to alleviate fears surrounding death. The episode delves into the nature of hospice care, the misconceptions about dying, and the sacred moments at the end of life. Personal stories and insights are shared to highlight the beauty and inevitability of death as part of the human experience. Julie and the host discuss reframing perspectives on death, the spiritual growth during physical decline, and the profound love present in the final moments of life. The conversation also explores the connection between healthcare providers, patients, and families, as well as the mysterious aspects of dying that transcend scientific understanding. The episode concludes with expressions of gratitude for the opportunity to support and educate others about the end-of-life process.

    • 41 min
    Securing Your Pet's Future: The Essentials of Pet Trusts with Ingrid Harrison

    Securing Your Pet's Future: The Essentials of Pet Trusts with Ingrid Harrison

    In this episode, titled ”Securing Your Pet’s Future: The Essentials of Pet Trusts with Ingrid Harrison,” listeners are introduced to the world of pet trusts. Ingrid Harrison, an advocate for animal welfare, shares her insights on the emotional bonds between humans and their pets, and the importance of securing their future through legal arrangements. The conversation delves into the details of setting up a pet trust, the selection of caregivers, and the necessity of having emergency contacts and detailed care plans for pets. Suzanne, the host, expresses her gratitude for Ingrid’s work and reflects on her own need to establish a trust for her pet. The episode is a call to action for pet owners to take responsible steps to ensure their pets’ well-being, even after they can no longer care for them themselves.

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
62 Ratings

62 Ratings

Crispy noodles ,

Absolutely awesome podcast

There are so many lessons here about life yes I said it life. I love hearing all the information shared here and how we can live everyday better fulfilled and learn how to talk about the inevitable.

Serosion3119 ,

Wonderful Information!

I am in training to be an End-of-Life doula and found this podcast thru other podcasts. Very helpful and informative!

YabberWI ,

Educational, wholistic and grounded

From the first episode I listened to, through to my twentieth I’m appreciative of the depths this podcast takes us. As a non-medical professional I didn’t know if exploring the opportunity to be a Death / End of Life Doula is something I’d be welcomed to do…glad to hear and learn that the doors are open to one and all. I find myself smiling and nodding often at the content brought forth to share. So appreciate the balanced approach for self-care and caring for the dying. I look forward to participating in the trainings offered as well. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and deep passion for this part of our lives journey…and introducing us to a vast array of others who address/support grief, the dying and those around them.

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